Ethiopia Will Implement Pre-Adoption Immigration Review (PAIR) Requirement

The government of Ethiopia informed the United States that, effective Sept. 1, 2013, it will require all adoption cases filed by United States prospective adoptive parents to undergo the U.S. PAIR process. Ethiopia’s Ministry of Women, Children and Youth Affairs (MOWCYA) will require a PAIR letter issued by USCIS in order to make a best interest determination.  

Prospective adoptive parents will initiate PAIR by filing a Form I-600 with USCIS before completing the adoption in Ethiopia.  If USCIS makes a preliminary determination that the child appears eligible to immigrate to the United States, USCIS will issue a PAIR letter.  Prospective adoptive parents must include the PAIR letter in the adoption dossier they submit to the Ethiopian Federal First Instance Court (FFIC) to initiate the adoption. The FFIC will then forward the dossier, including the PAIR letter, to MOWCYA for review.                                            

The new PAIR letter requirement will not affect adoption cases filed with Ethiopian courts before Sept. 1, 2013. 

You can find guidance for prospective adoptive parents on the Ethiopia adoptions page of